Ide Carine Tchounga, winner of the George Atkins Communications Award

October 28, 2019
A translation for this article is available in French

After she graduated from the School of Science, Information Technology, and Communication in 2000, Ide Carine Tchounga chose to work at a radio station in her village: Radio Medumba. Nearly 20 years later, Mrs Tchounga is the head of the station and a presenter of the program called “Actualités agropastorale” (Agri-pastoral news).

The idea to start this program came to her after she read several of Farm Radio’s Resource Packs. She says, “I decided to take advantage of these packs to create a program for farmers, which was appreciated by the management committee at the station who saw this as an occasion to be closer to the population.” At the beginning, the program was called “Monde Rural” (Rural World) and was broadcast twice a week, although it’s now called “Actualités agropastorales.”

During the production of the programs, they bring together farmers and experts who “illuminate them” on areas of confusion. She says, “This promotes contact [between farmers and experts] and in most cases the farmer’s technicians assist farmers in the field after the show.” They tackle topics like pest management, growing maize in the off-season, market gardening, how to make compost, eating organic, and more.

Her passion and strengths are linked to rural populations: going to the fields and farmers, being close to farmers, and being solicited by farmers to share the experiences of other farmers.

Mrs. Tchounga says that a major problem for farmers in her region is the lack of training and finance available: many people turn to farming because they believe they have failed in life. The broadcasters uncovered this sentiment during an investigation and they took the problem to a representative from the Department of Agriculture. He helped them by intervening in several episodes to educate farmers and show them different opportunities offered by the government for obtaining finance and training.

One source of finance is micro-projects that parliamentarians can sponsor and thanks to Radio Medumba, a group of youth has been supported by these funds. Mrs. Tchounga explains that a parliamentarian – who is a loyal listener – decided to support the youth after hearing their story on the radio. She called the station to advise the group to form a formal association and then she provided them with funding. Mrs. Tchounga has shared this experience in a Barza Wire Spotlight story and on YenKasa Africa.

The voices of farmers are included in the episodes of “Actualités agropastorales” in several ways, including studio and field interviews. And the last episode of each month is dedicated to reading the comments of listeners.

To make their programs interesting, Mrs. Tchounga uses wild sounds, like birds and the noises of hoes and machetes.

Radio Medumba has a long history of partnership with FRI. Two journalists have benefited from a training in 2011 in Douala where they learned about producing rural radio programs. And Mrs. Tchounga says she uses our resources “non-stop” to improve the content of her radio programs. They have also spread the word to other stations in her area.

Ide Carine Tchounga was one of three winners of the George Atkins Communications Award. We will share profiles of all the winners and runners up, but to learn more about the other winners, go to: http://wire.farmradio.fm/en/spotlights/2019/09/all-three-winners-of-this-years-george-atkins-communications-award-show-commitment-to-farmers-and-farm-radio-international-18686